What should I do with this old Dell Desktop in terms of upgrades and parts?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by SaberLilly, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. SaberLilly
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    SaberLilly GBAtemp Regular

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    May 26, 2017
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    So one of my neighbors tossed this old Dell Optiplex 170L into the trash (with the monitor) and I decided to take them home, I want to make it an XP gaming machine but i don't know what direction to go in, i have added a few parts I had laying around though.

    Specifications
    OS: Windows XP Professional SP3 (non-hacked for once since it had the original COA on it XD)
    3.0ghz Pentium 4 with Hyperthreading
    2 GB of 400 Mhz SDRam, I think this is the most the board can support but im not sure
    40 GB primary hard drive, 80 GB secondary hard drive
    Soundsblaster Live! CT 4780, I think this is a Dell OEM card
    Intel 8485G Graphics which is the biggest drawback
    I also replaced the power supply with a 350 watt ANTEC one I had laying around as i didn't trust the 250 watt Dell OEM one

    Here's a few obstacles i'm facing
    No AGP Slot
    1 onboard SATA connector
    only 2 PCI slots, the third is being used by the sound card.

    What I want to do
    Graphics card, preferably with 128 mb or higher of VRAM
    Sata controller card, so i can use modern SATA DVD and Hard drives


    Before I get flooded with "throw that thing out" I don't like throwing out working computers.
     
  2. RattletraPM

    RattletraPM GBATemp's official 蒸気イーブイ

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    In terms of upgrades, honestly not much. It only supports P4 and Celeron processors and yours is almost top of the line so a CPU upgrade is out of the question. You were right about the RAM maxed out, so that's a no-go too. The highest SATA spec it supports is SATA 1 so all modern SSDs are also out of the question. It doesn't have AGP or PCIe so you're only limited to PCI graphics cards...

    If you want to turn it into an XP gaming machine then instead of buying a SATA controller card I'd buy an IDE to CF adapter and a CF card, which will give you good read/write performance speeds for a much lower cost than an SSD + SATA controller and you'll also save a PCI slot. For the GPU, the newest PCI GPU you can find is a GT 610 made by Zotac. If you want something older, I'd recommend any GPU with 256 or 512 MB of VRAM, eg. GeForce 6200.

    ...And if I were you I'd also get my soldering iron and replacement capacitors ready.
     
    Last edited by RattletraPM, Oct 9, 2018
  3. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

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    I'd replace the hard disks. 40+80? Sorry, but that's nothing. About a week ago I "rescued" a 160GB IDE drive from the "to be discarded" pile from my job and though free, I still feel somewhat scammed. ;)

    Considering windows XP, I can only hope you don't connect it to the internet, because even basic antivirus protection not only slows the (already slow) thing down but probably still has all sorts of holes in it since support of XP ended years ago. On the plus side: this is a great device for testing out some linux distros (heh...the first time I tested linux mint was on a garbage single core Pentium 4. :P )

    What I don't understand is why you want to spend money on it. The internal memory is rather small, so if you upgrade the graphic cards, that'll become your next bottleneck. Not to mention your CPU which isn't too far behind either.
     
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  4. slaphappygamer

    slaphappygamer GBAPerm

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    You can set it up as an emulationstation. Oooooorrrrrr, get it up and working and donate it to a kid in the neighborhood so they can do homework. Not everyone has a computer.
     
  5. RattletraPM

    RattletraPM GBATemp's official 蒸気イーブイ

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    I've already suggested upgrades to the OP because that's what he asked for, but I have to agree. I also hate to throw away tech in general but let's be honest: it would make an okay-ish XP gaming PC, sure, but if you're going to spend money on it then with a bit more you could get a LGA 775 machine with dual/quad core CPU support, more & faster RAM and PCIe/AGP slots. Even if you buy barebones DDR2 is extremely cheap nowadays and Core2Duo CPUs are, what, around 5 USD on eBay? (And if you want something a bit more powerful on the cheap you could do a 771 to 775 mod :P). Of course LGA 775 machines aren't exactly new either but hey, with the proper components you should be able to run anything from XP to 10 no problem!

    So, yeah. If OP absolutely want to keep in then I've already told you what your best options are imho, otherwise you might want to donate it and get something else.
     
  6. SaberLilly
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    SaberLilly GBAtemp Regular

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    thank you, I may just do this, because while i have an old LGA 775 based computer (or at least the parts thereof) laying around, its in TERRIBLE condition and i think it would just be cheaper for me to keep the P4.
     
  7. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08

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    You can put together an LGA 775 system that can actually run some modern games for about $70, and should do very well with any older game.


    As for the P4 box, maybe use it as a NAS/media server/seedbox.
     
  8. SaberLilly
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    SaberLilly GBAtemp Regular

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  9. RattletraPM

    RattletraPM GBATemp's official 蒸気イーブイ

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  10. SaberLilly
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    SaberLilly GBAtemp Regular

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    Totally, especially if they used those uh.....what were those really bad capacitors that were used a lot?
     
  11. RattletraPM

    RattletraPM GBATemp's official 蒸気イーブイ

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    Electrolytic ;)
     
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